Smoked Salmon – NW Salmon Candy

Smoked salmon, is there anything better? We all know everyone has their “secret” recipe, but in reality most are quite similar with just a few variations. Almost always salt, sugar and some spices are common ingredients. I used to use a liquid brine, but in the last few years I was introduced to a dry recipe called “Salmon Candy”. It has by far created the best smoked salmon coming out of my home and doesn’t last long once friends and co-workers know I have some in the fridge.

The ingredients needed for “Salmon Candy” are:

– 1 Cup White Sugar
– 1 Cup Brown Sugar
– 1/3 Cup Salt
– 2 Tbsp. Onion Powder
– 2 Tbsp. Garlic Powder
– 2 Tbsp. Pepper

As you can see, there a quite a few ingredients involved which not only takes up space in the pantry, but also requires measuring and mixing the ingredients.

This is my technique for preparing the fish for the smoker:

– Place the fish skin side down in a glass, plastic or non-metallic container. I used my wife’s Pampered Chef marinating containers, which are now designated specifically for smoking fish.
– Liberally sprinkle “NorthWest Salmon Candy” to the flesh of the salmon.
– Place another layer of salmon and repeat. Some people prefer to place the fish flesh to flesh and skin to skin. I too have found this to be a good method and generally follow this rule although not all the time and I haven’t noticed a difference.
– Seal the container and place in the refrigerator
– Flip the container upside down (if the container allows for this) after 24 hours. If you can’t flip it, take the fish and rotate the fish from bottom to top. – You’ll notice a lot of juice forming, this is normal.
– After another 24 hours take out and gently rinse and place on paper towels. Do not rinse ALL the product off, just the excess.
– Once towel dried for 1/2 an hour, it’s ready to load the smoker.

Smokers are a whole different subject, but they’ll all do the job. Smoking times and heat will vary depending on the smoker and if you’ve had good success using your smoker a certain way I’d stick to it.

I now use a Treager Smoker and love it!.  It’s so simple, just set the Treager on “smoke” and it keeps it at a constant 160 degrees.  Depending on the thickness and your desired doneness, it should take between 6 and 8 hours.  A “normal” size coho will require about 6 hours, then go up from there.

Another variable is the type of wood used.  Traditionally alder is used for smoked salmon, but I have to say I now like “mixed” smoke better.  Half and half of Alder and Hickory, Alder and Cherry, or Alder and Mesquite give it a nice unique flavor.

It always turns out spectacular!